ANN ARBOR, MI—National health spending (NHS) in March 2014 grew 7.1% over March 2013, the highest 12-month rate since February 2005, well before the recession, which began in December 2007. The health spending share of GDP reached an all-time high of 17.9% in March, just above its February value of 17.8%.
Health care prices in March 2014 were 1.1% higher than in March 2013, only 1/10 above the all-time low. The March 2014 12-month moving average, at 1.2%, represents a new all-time low for our data.
Health care gained 18,700 jobs in April. The monthly average for 2014 is now 16,000, just below the average of 17,000 jobs per month for full-year 2013. Hospitals are adding fewer than 1,000 jobs per month thus far in calendar year 2014, after scant growth in 2013. The health share of total employment, at 10.61%, is below the all-time high of 10.66%, last hit in December 2012.
These data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic IndicatorsSM briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending (www.altarum.org/HealthIndicators).
“Health spending growth rates have increased rapidly in recent months, but the 7.1% figure observed for March may well mark the end of this acceleration,” said Charles Roehrig, director of the Center. “This is because of a leveling off in the numbers of newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. The 10% annualized growth rate for the first quarter of 2014 that has received recent media coverage is based upon comparison to the preceding quarter and is not an indicator of annual growth for 2014 as a whole.”
For additional perspective on the health spending acceleration, see Charles Roehrig’s new blog.